Sea Of No Cares

Great Big Sea

Zoe Records, 2002

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


By the time you read this, the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics will be over. It'll have been a damn fine time, too; not just because the US cleaned up in the medal count, but because there were some great, great stories, from Simon "Harry Potter On Skis" Amman to the Canadian women's "We Don't Lose. Ever." hockey team. Maybe the biggest story will be that in many cases, being the best in your event was a death knell; from Michelle Kwan to Johnny Moseley to the Canadian women's curling team, it was a rough couple of weeks for the favorites.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Speaking of things Canadian, however, it's no big secret for regular readers of "The Daily Vault" that one of my favorites is Newfoundland Celt-rock band Great Big Sea; and while the music's still echoing from the last national anthem, the boys from St John have a new CD, Sea Of No Cares. So it begs the question; did the favorites fail or do they take home the gold?

Cue up "O Canada," boys; they nailed it again.

Sea Of No Cares is an early candidate for 2002's Album of the Year. Great Big Sea just keeps getting better and better. However, be aware; Sea is a bit of a departure for GBS in some places, and it may not be quite what you expect.

First and foremost, there's more production to it. GBS has in the past used a stripped-down sound without too many effects on the music; they stick with that on the traditional tracks, but on tracks like "Sea Of No Cares" and "Own True Way" there's more experimentation. Drum loops and subtle samples create a more textured sound that takes a moment to get used to, but in the end works really well. For the first time, GBS has taken a relatively long time to record an album -- almost a year -- and it shows. Other new ventures include a duet with vocalist Liz Pickard on the traditional Newfoundland ballad "Barque In The Harbor" and a rollicking, funny version of the traditional "Scolding Wife".

But as always with GBS, the highlights are the original tunes. "Sea Of No Cares" is a breezy, funny, and brilliant look at the early gloss on a love affair. :"Clearest Indication" is bright and powerful. The highlight, however, has to be "French Perfume", the dark and demonic story of a smuggler haunting the rocks the Mounties drove him onto. The fiddle line, in particular, shudders and wails like a banshee protesting an Olympic judging; if at one point the Devil went down to Georgia, I think he's back north of the border now.

I hate to repeat myself, but I will; Great Big Sea is one of the greatest bands currently recording, and once again they have nailed the jump, nailed the landing, and walked away with gold. Don't miss this one.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2002 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Zoe Records, and is used for informational purposes only.